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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 13, 2011 11:35pm-12:05am EST

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tonight on "nightline," upright again. dramatic new details of congresswoman giffords' recovery. her doctors ready to use the word "miracle." a bittersweet day in tucson as the youngest victim is laid to rest. we'll have all the latest. plus, the lord's work. a year after hay deep's earthquake, the son of a famous e van jell list leads an army of compassion, doing what exactly? we go inside franklin graham's $375 million christian charity. then, water world. high water everywhere much of it deadly. if it seems like a trend, it is.
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last year was the wettest ever on record. we take a look at why. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city this is "nightline," january 13th, 2011. >> good evening, i'm cynthia mcfadden. we begin tonight with promising signs and a touching farewell in tucson. doctors report that congresswoman gabrielle giffords, so gravely wounded in saturday's shooting is showing signs of motor control beyond what anyone dared expect. exciting news. but muted today by the laying to rest of the tragedy's youngest victim, 9-year-old christina-taylor green, in a ceremony at a catholic church in north tucson. here's david wright with our report. >> reporter: today in tucson, the first solid bit of good news from the doctors. >> she's yawning, she's starting to rub her eyes and she'll wake
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up, where as before she would just go back to sleep right away. >> reporter: congresswoman gabby giffords appears to be waking up. but alongside that glimmer of hope, heartbreak as this community today laid to rest the littlest victim of the shooting. 9-year-old christina-taylor green and congresswoman giffords were forever linked by the mad gunman who tried to take both their lives. five days after that terrible event, two very different outcomes. for christina green, a final good-bye. a funeral mass at st. elizabeth ann seton church. 2,000 people turned up. some, no older than christina herself. so many, the overflow had to stand outside. many of them no doubt, moved to be here by the president's eulogy last night. >> christina was an a-student, she was a dancer, she was a gymnast, she was a swimmer. she decided that she wanted to be the first woman to play in
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the major leagues and as the only girl on her little league team, no one put it past her. >> reporter: obama, of course has a daughter the same age. >> here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy. just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship. just starting to glimpse the fact that some day she, too, might play a part in shaping her nation's future. >> reporter: today, outside the church, new york firefighters carfully unwrapped a flag with special significance. the 9/11 flag, recovered in tatters from ground zero and stitched back together with other flags from around the country. a red, white and blue quilt from a nation that suffered and survived devastating loss. christina green's life was one of the few bright spots from 9/11, as he parents told george stephanopoulos this week.
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>> she's pretty patriotic for a little girl. >> oh, yeah. >> very patriotic. very patriotic. >> she always loved to wear her -- >> red white and blue. >> she loved 4th of july over at my mom and dads. >> and she loved 9/11. she thought it was a holiday and -- for her. >> september 11th was her birthday. >> one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called "faces of hope." on either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child's life. i hope you help those in need. i hope you jump in rain puddles. if there are rain puddles in heaven christina is jumping in them today. >> reporter: small consolation on earth today -- >> christina-taylor green has
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called us together this afternoon afternoon. this is her celebration. >> reporter: inside the church only one still photographer was there to capture the scene as the priest tried to offer consolation. >> just 9 years old, she was. but she has found her dwelling place in god's mansion. she went home. >> reporter: among the mourners commander mark kelly gabby giffords' husband. for him, especially, this was a day of mixed emotions. just last night, surrounded by her friends from congress his wife opened her eyes for the very first time. >> we were saying, come on you know, as soon as you're out of here, we'll take you on a double date. and all of a sudden she raises her whole hand. she did a full hand thumbs up. >> and just in the time period they were speaking to her and holding her hand you could see
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her becoming more aroused and literally opened her eyes. >> reporter: giffords also cupped her husband ease wedding ring. >> honey, if you can hear me play with my wedding ring. she reached over and grabbed the ring and reached further and grabbed his watch and then she reached to hug him and so like her arm was just by his face and it was unbelievable amount of love that was just streaming between these two people. >> reporter: no mistaking love in its more tragic form too, as the pal bearers walked that little coffin to the hearse. donte mitchell was one of christina green's third grade classmates. >> it's hard to explain to them that she was not going to be at school on monday was really hard, and he kept saying what if she is? >> i'm sorry that christina died. >> reporter: that simple wooden casket, so small and so fragile, was itself a labor of love.
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hand-made by trappist monks in debuk, iowa. >> she was an amazing little girl and she got robbed of all the wonderful things she could have done. >> reporter: today, no one here would dispute that, but the country is getting something back, to the amazethment even to gabby giffords' doctors. >> we very much like to attribute mir kms to what we do or others do around us but a lot of medicine is out of our control and we're wise to acknowledge miracles. >> reporter: that belief of something bigger may be the only thing that helps make sense of the senseless. a power, guiding one woman's recovery and hopefully watching over a little angel, and the family she leaves behind. i'm david wright for "nightline" in tucson. >> two families lives that will never be the same. when we come back haiti, one year after the earthquake. we're on the ground with the
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the earthquake that struck haiti a year ago yesterday was one of the most devastating natural disasters ever. people around the world responded with generosity and so did many governments billions of dollars were pledged. so, how much help is actually getting through? tonight, my co-anchor terry moran examines the work of one
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christian relief organization in haiti, led by a man with a famous last name. >> reporter: a year later, haiti lies in ruins, still. >> at about 9:00 is the palace. >> reporter: from the air, the epic destruction of port-au-prince, the capital city, where the massive presidential palace crumbled in the seconds the earth shook and shattered this nation. >> not much left of the building, is there? >> reporter: no. we traveled to haiti with franklin graham, e van jell list, and head of samaritan's purse, a worldwide disaster relief organization this is his fifth trip to haiti since the earthquake. >> it's easy to stay home and do nothing. that's the easy thing to do. i'm just not wired that way. >> reporter: the government now estimates that more than 300,000 people died in the earthquake a year ago. that's 3% of the population killed in under a minute.
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more than a million are still homeless and since october, a severe epidemic of cholera has killed thousands. but somehow in the middle of so much suffering, there is hope. from around the world, an army of compassion has been mobilized. christian aid workers, like graham and his staff, volunteer and come to help. >> there are people that are hurting, hungry sick. you've got to stop and help them. >> reporter: franklin graham has built samaritan's purse into a remarkable missionary organization over three decades often out of the limelight cast by his famous father billy graham. but this -- >> we pray that you bless them all. >> reporter: this is franklin graham's cause. >> everywhere we work i want people to know that god loves them. >> reporter: our journey to haiti began in the blue ridge mountains, in north carolina at the headquarters of is asamaritan's
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purse. here, we got an idea of the scale of graham's work. it is a $375 million a year nonprofit business. >> when is it going to be shipped out? >> first week in february. >> reporter: samaritan's purse works in more than 100 country, offering emergency relief projects for victims of war, natural disaster disease and famine. one of the biggest projects samaritan's purse runs is called operation christmas time. they send christmas presents to needy children around the world. 8 million needy children and even after christmas, they're still working to distribute them all. and there's medical equipment and lumber for shelters here. and there's something else samaritan's purse offers. christianity. >> everyone that we help will be presented a bible and the volunteers will sign the bible, as a gift to them. and we'll have prayer with them and then we move to the next house, so, there's -- >> there you go.
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>> reporter: graham is a missionary. he makes no bones about it. and that has made his group's work around the world controversial for some people. but he told us as we drove to the airport, the relief work comes first. >> but it's timing. you just don't run up and start preaching at a person when they're bleeding. you can't do that. doesn't work. >> reporter: it's a different way to spread the word of the christian gospel than his father pursued. and as a young man franklin graham rebelled. he drank liked fast motorcycles, and as he said in 1994, he seemed to resent being seen always and only as billy graham's son. >> people expect you to be something that you're not. they expect you to walk around with a bile under your own. they dorm expect you to ride motor cycles or to shoot a gun. maybe expect you to be on your knees in front of an altar all day long. i don't know. >> reporter: but all that is in his past. he's headed to haiti, again.
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graham's a pilot, too, and he flew the plane one of 14 samaritan's purse owns around the world, the better to respond quickly to need. once we arrive in haiti, we head to a church. one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. but the children here shine with a rare beauty in their sunday best, like flowers in the dirt as they receive the operation christmas time gifts. it's a stark contrast to the cholera clinic near. they set up two clinics in haiti within days of the epidemic's outbreak. each time we enter one of the tents, we wash our hands and step in a bleach solution. health officials say this up epidemic has not peaked. back on the chopper, our pilot, roy harris takes us across the devastated city and graham talks about the deep corruption in haiti, and how it's hindered relief efforts.
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>> all those containers right there? that's all our stuff. >> reporter: you can't take that to the people because of customs? >> yeah we've been held up. the customs agents hold back aid that's come into the country to help the people. and they won't let it come through. >> reporter: a year later, and the city is still full of rubble. >> that's the catholic ka theel drag right there. just completely collapsed. there's no government. there's nobody cleaning up the place. nobody has a plan for recovery. the country doesn't have money. they don't have a government. it's -- it's a sad, sad situation. and the people are suffering. >> reporter: samaritan's purse has spent nearly $40 million in haiti over the past year. they've built more than 10,000 transitional shelters for the homeless. >> we use this pressure treated
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lumber. >> reporter: sturdy 12 by 12 metal roof structures that will last for years. they've also set up water filtration systems and done more. and all in the name of jesus christ. >> good to see you. >> reporter: but graham's critics ask, should that be the purpose of aid work? is that exploiting the vulnerable? >> we don't force it on anybody. we don't deny aid to anybody. oh, you're not going to listen to what i'm going to say, i'm not going to help you. no, we'd never do that. we're building houses but this is who we are. we're going to give you a bible, we're going to say god bless you and if a person says i don't want that because you're christians, okay, you know maybe the muslims or somebody else will come build it for you, i don't know. but we've never had anybody turn it down. >> reporter: on sunday port-au-prince's soccer stadium fills up under the blazing sun
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and franklin graham arrives to preach. >> we have come today to call on the name of god. >> reporter: in his stern, baritone voice, you can hear the echoes of his father. >> for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. >> reporter: to his critics, and to the critics of missionary work in general, graham's blending of aid and e van jell lizing in haiti. but there's so much suffering here, so much need. does it ever feel overwhelming? >> sure it does. and sometimes you say to yourself, you know, why do we bother? but if you make the difference in one life, is it worth it? if it was me or if it was my children down here, if this happened to my family and somebody came down here did something to help them, would i be grateful? sure. >> reporter: in the world's worst disasters, like haiti, franklin graham has found his voice.
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>> our thanks to terry moran for that report from haiti, a place where more help is still needed. up next incredible scenes of flooding. last year was full of them. in fact, 2010 was the wettest year on record. we look at why.wnwnwnwnwnwnwnwnwn wnwn [ male announcer ] this is the evo 4g. this is android. which powers the evo. this is something nice someone said about the evo. so is this. ♪ ♪ and this. and all this.
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with cynthia mcfadden. >> we turn now to the health of the planet and a fundamental question. walls of water are washing away entire cities. last year, it was in pakistan, last week, australia, and now brazil, too.
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what causes these horrible floods? and, is it just our imagination, or are there really getting worse than they ever were before? here's jeffrey kofman with our report. >> reporter: with her house collapsing around her in the raging flood waters rescuers threw a lifeline to this woman in the mountains in north brazil. she plunged into the surging waters. the hope held but she couldn't hold onto the dog. as neighbors urged her on she was raised to safety. not far away firefighters cheered as a baby boy was rescued from the mud. two bright moments in what has been a grim week of floods around the world. floods of, well biblical proportions. what is going on with all that water? the images of the flash floods in brazil are truly apocalyptic. at least 400 people are dead.
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the worst naturaldy aster in australia's history has left much of brisbane under water. in sri lanka, a million people are homeless because of floods. and in germany, a tanker loaded with sulfuric acid capsized today in a river, where unseasonably warm weather has caused a mid-winter melt. >> climate changing is happening. it's real. it's a scientific fact. >> reporter: ah, remember 2010? many would rather forget it. it was the wettest year on record around the world. and it was tied for the warmest year on record. there were those floods in pakistan that covered a fifth of that country's land mass and dislocated a staggering 20 million people. there was a sering two-month summer heat in russia that killed 15,000 people. and in the u.s. record snow falls in the east last winter
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followed by record heat in the summer. is there something here that sets off the alarms? >> well, certainly, we do expect with global warming, to see extreme rainfalls become more extreme and frequent. however, it is very difficult, if not impossible to pin any single event holy on climate change. >> reporter: you probably heard of la nina. it can cause chaos in australia and asia and right now, it is. officially, 15 people are dead, but soldiers today combed the mud of flash floods to look for dozens more who are missing. and at one horse farm alone, 80 horses drowned. this is the swollen brisbane river this week. that is a floating beer garden. or, it was. those boats didn't fare much better. the only good news? the river didn't crest as high as expected, and now, it is going down. and for some that was reason for a celebration. australian style.
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scientists tell us it is too soon to know if the past year's extreme weather has been an aberration. but they add there is increasing evidence that this is the climate for years to come. i'm jeffrey kofman for "nightline" in london. >> gosh, let's hope not. thanks to jeffrey kofman. when we come back, involuntary commitment. but first, here's jimmy kimmel with what's coming up next. >> jimmy: thanks cynthia. tonight, elle fanning, music from the damned things "this week in unnecessary censorship," and from "the green hornet," seethe rogen and
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